Palestinians strive to keep hope alive in Holy Land

2014-01-16 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal told a visiting delegation of Catholic bishops from Europe, North America and South Africa that their pilgrimage to the Holy Land helps the local Church not to feel abandoned or forgotten by the international community. The Bishops conclude their 5-day annual pilgrimage later on Thursday.

Susy Hodges has been travelling with the Bishops and filed this report:

A young Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem said to us “You have to be strong to live in this place.” It’s a remark that we heard more than once during this pilgrimage to the Holy Land and it touched a chord among the listeners. That’s because what we saw and heard during this visit brought us face to face with the daily difficulties for Palestinians caused by the restrictions on movement and Israel’s separation wall. Difficulties that might cause many to lose hope and sink into a state of bitter resignation.

On a visit to the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem we met Palestinian families who were bravely trying to retain hope in a situation where all the odds seemed to be stacked against them. One of the last green areas in the Bethlehem district, this beautiful valley is under threat from the planned route of the separation wall that would cut off 58 Palestinian families from their ancestral lands. The sadness of these families was palpable despite their brave front.

The threat to the Cremisan Valley comes from a physical wall that is snaking across the West Bank. But there are other types of walls that are just as threatening in the Holy Land. In his address to the visiting Catholic bishops, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem said we need to demolish the walls in the heart of the human people to help bring peace to this troubled land.

Listen to Susy Hodges report: